Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Black History Month: What's the Point?

My computer ate my original post, so with this re-write I'm going to be really brief:

What, in your opinion, is the purpose of Black History Month? Why is it around? Do you think it has been effective in its mission?

I plan to re-visit this topic a few times and it will probably lead to other related topics.

**note - I do have opinions on this topic . . . just hoping to get a little feedback first before I share my point of view. If you're looking for an idea of my perspective, click on the "race" and "racism" tags at the bottom of this entry**

Disclaimer - I know race can be a scary topic to discuss, so let me be clear - this is a safe zone to talk! I honestly don't think anything inflammatory is going to go on in the comments to this blog, but if you're hesitant to say anything because you think I or someone else will flame you - know that I don't get down with that stuff. I like to talk about these difficult topics but I don't think being mean is productive. Even when disagreeing, I try to do so respectfully.


Piper said...

I suppose one "point" might be that for most of early American history, Africans in America weren't allowed (nor educated enough) to keep their own history--even for their own family heritage. A month of celebrating the history of a single race has is a good idea. In South Africa, there are similar time periods of remembrance for white Africans. How's that for a switch>

A second point might be simply that for many years Anglos oppressed Africans (first as slaves, then as "lesser" citizens) and some even tried to cover up the rich history that Africans in our country do indeed have.
Those are my thoughts.

Ashley said...

Thanks Piper! Do you think Black History Month has been effective in educating our citizens about the history of Black Americans?

What would you say if someone suggested not celebrating Black History Month?

Renee said...

To be honest, I have never paid much if any attention to Black History Month.
I assume its goal is to discourage racism by celebrating the achievements of African Americans. I don't think it's been successful it it's mission, because it goes unnoticed so easily.
I guess I don't pay much attention to race issues in general because I don't totally understand them.
So count me as the ignorant fool, but I am an eager student of yours, Ashley. I am completely inspired by your dedicated passion for these issues.

Ashley said...

I wouldn't call you an ignorant fool, but I do feel a strong desire to call you Grasshopper. :) I agree, I don't think it's been least not enough. I plan to write more about why in the coming weeks and months. And I appreciate your comment!

Dana Richards said...

I work in 99.9% African American community and every Black History Month we force the students to write reports on Rosa Parks and MLK and make them participate in hokey plays about their ancestry. 1) they don't care. They can't grasp the importance of learning about their culture because they are so far removed from things like slavery and segregation. 2) they aren't learning anything BECAUSE they don't care. I think that Black History month in itself is a poor excuse to "recognize" great Americans... can't we do that year round though? Why just February?

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